Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Completely Irrational Art of Throwing a Tantrum

My oldest is the sweetest little girl you'll ever meet.


 She is adorable and kind and gentle and helpful and so many other wonderful things but if she is in a less than desirable mood and something does not go her way, she bears a striking resemblance to the hulk. As I've been trying to deal as constructively and positively as possible with the crazy emotions of my 4 year old, I've learned a lot. I've become a student, taking notes about each stage and truly learning the completely irrational art of throwing a tantrum. I thought I'd share my findings with you.

Stage 1: The child realizes that something is not going their way. Their face starts to scrunch up and the bottom lip begins to protrude more than anyone thought humanly possible and the screaming starts. It's not so high pitched at first but as it escalates it reaches a decibel that only dogs can hear and apparently my cat because she runs as far from the action as possible with her ears turned back and pained expression on her face.
Thoughts of the child at Stage 1: "I'm upset! I will be as noisy as possible to show that I am upset!"
Thoughts of the parent at Stage 1: "Oh no."

This is a picture of my son whose tantrums are still very underdeveloped compared to my daughter but you get the picture.

Stage 2: The tears begin to flow (as well as the snot) and the child sees that their parent has, in fact, noticed that they are upset. They continue to scream and cry and start to throw themselves around with no consideration for their own personal safety or the well being of those around them. They will often get hurt during this stage of the tantrum (a rogue hand hits a wall, their head collides with something hard as they throw themselves blindly on the floor, that sort of thing...) this only escalates the tantrum and they look at you like you were the one who hurt them when really they did it completely on their own.
Thoughts of the child at stage 2: "What did I do to deserve this!"
Thoughts of the parent at stage 2: "What did I do to deserve this?"

Stage 3: By stage 3 you as the parent have probably started to take some sort of action. If you are a very skilled manipulator and the tantrum was only a 1 or 2 on the richter scale you may have managed to quiet the child and are now trying to reason with them. Good for you! This never happens to me. At this point I am trying to convince my child that having a time out will help her calm down. I somehow manage to get her into her room and often have to hold the handle to keep out of harms way. She continues to scream and cry and is trying her best to pound down the door. 
Thoughts of the child at stage 3: "If I can just keep this up for a little longer I will surely get what I want!"
Thoughts of the parent at stage 3: "Maybe I should just give in. Then this child will stop screaming."

Stage 4: It didn't seem possible but the child has now reached a new level of upset. They are completely soaked with snot and tears and can hardly catch their breath between sobs and screams. They sound like they are dying. You try whatever you can to calm them down. My list goes something like this: 
1) Ask the child in calm and soothing voice to stop crying.
2) Ask the child if what they really need is a hug.
3) Assure the child that it does not matter how long or loud they scream that the answer is still no.
4) Give the child a few helpful ideas to aid in the calming down process (count to 10, stomp foot 3 times, hug a stuffy, take 3 deep breaths)
5) Tell the child if they do not calm down that a prized possession will be taken away. 
6) Speak a little more sternly, you may have to raise your voice  a little to be heard over all the screaming.
7) Even though they answered, "No" to #2 you courageously go in for the hug anyway despite the flaying limbs and snot soaked shirt and hair. 
8) You begin to google parenting tips on your iPhone and hope you'll find something you have not already tried.
Stage 4 seems to last an eternity.
Thoughts of the child at stage 4: "I'm so upset but I can't remember why!"
Thoughts of the parents at stage 4: "What started this again?"

Stage 5: At some point the child will calm down. You will talk to them about their behaviour and they will apologize regretfully or unwillingly but at this stage you don't really care. No one feels good about how things went down. There is no winner and everyone is a loser. You plan for better behaviour in the future and if you are having an especially good parenting day you will make some sort of chart or reward system to help see the plan through. 
Thoughts of the child at stage 5: "What should I play with next?"
Thoughts of the parent at stage 5: "Thank goodness that is over!"

In all my research I have yet to come up with a sure fire solution to the problem of the tantrum. One thing I know for sure is that it's a good thing kids are so cute because tantrums are the worst. They are loud and annoying and bring out the worst in everyone involved. I'm told that there is hope for all of us who suffer from a tantrum throwing child because apparently they grow out of it and soon reach another stage called teenager, where they are completely rational and just complete angels!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thought #1

Image result for think before you speak

So everyone always says you should think before you speak and I would definitely agree that this is a good idea and know that I could vastly improve in this area. On the other hand it is important not to think too much before you speak or you may end up thinking that you did say what you were thinking about when you didn't really at all. This is a common source of frustration in my marriage. I bet you can hear the conversation already, "But I told you that I wanted to...," "No, you didn't." "Yes I did! I was thinking about it all day!" So in closing you should think before you speak, but not too much that you forget to say what you were thinking about.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Conflict is a part of life that none of us can escape. No matter how easy going we are (which I am not at all) or how much we try to avoid it (which I also do not do), it will always be there and it can be so difficult to deal with when our emotions get in the way of clear thinking and prevent us from being able to truly seek God's perspective. When I was younger I would have said that I was really quite good at dealing with conflict but as I have grown older and have more responsibilities, it has only become more complicated and I find it increasingly difficult to see things clearly in times of conflict and end up doing and saying things I later regret.

Last week at this time I was unpacking after a week long vacation to Mexico, just me and my husband. We shipped the kids off to their grandparents and had an amazing week of fun and sun to celebarte our ten year anniversary. 


It was the first time in four years (since my daughter was born) that I actually felt myself relax and remember who I was apart from being a mom. It was so refreshing to have time to read, think and ponder.


The book I read while we were there was Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst. On the cover of the book it says "Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" and the book centres around how we can deal with conflict in a more healthy and productive way instead of just coming "Unglued." As soon as I saw the title of this book on Amazon I knew that it would be a great book for me and when I saw the cover, the book had to be mine.

 I can't tell you how many times a day I feel like I am the woman in this picture. Sometimes it feels like my kids have been put here on earth just to make me completely insane! A week away from the madness was the perfect time for me to read this book because it gave me the space I needed to soak up the rich advice and helpful suggestions that it had to offer. My book is now full of underlines, circled paragraphs, and stars beside the stuff that I really want to remember.

After finishing the book there is one part that continues to ring in my mind on a daily basis and it is a verse that the author mentions found in Ephesians 6:12:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

I have heard this verse many times and actually have it posted up in my kitchen as a reminder of the perspective I need when dealing with conflict. Lysa Terkeurst explains in her book that this verse tells us that as much as we think that other person is the one who is against us, that really our only enemy is satan. It is only him on the other side and as we get mad at eachother and hurt one another, we are only doing satan's work for him. She says, "The secret to healthy conflict resolution isn't taking a you-against-me stance, but realizing it's all of us against Satan - he's the real enemy." She goes on to say that a "Jesus girl who rises up and unexpectedly gives grace when she surely could have done otherwise reveals the power and the mystery of Christ at work in her life and in the world." I believe that this is true. I think that every time we choose to do what goes against our human nature and speak kindly when someone deserves to be yelled at or be gracious even when the other person is being completely unfair or irrational, we magnify God's power at work within us and glorify him.

When I look at conflict through the lens of this verse it becomes a challenge and a fight of good against evil and my response becomes so clear. It is with this perspective that I can forget myself in those moments that I would normally be completely self-absorbed and see the bigger picture.

A few verses later in Ephesians 6:19 Paul writes:

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

So friends, let's pray for each other. When you see someone struggling to be patient with their toddler (this will most likely be me) or hear of conflict among friends or loved ones, pray for them. Dealing with conflict in a way that glorifies God is not easy. It goes against what we really want to do and we need to be prayer warriors for each other and unleash God's power into the situations of those who are also on our side.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sandi Patti

I was reintroduced to Sandi Patti yesterday after a 25 or so year hiatus and I have to say, that lady can sing! Does anyone else remember this artist? I listened to one of my favourite childhood albums entitled Morning Like This and was pleasantly surprised that it is still fantastic and that I had great taste in music when I was in 5! 

Image result for sandi patty it was a morning like this

This album has got everything! It starts with a beautiful choral arrangement entitled Let There Be Praise and believe me there was. By the end of the song my children were covering there ears and my daughter announced that my singing was too loud and was hurting her head. The album then goes on to such inspirational hits as Love in Any Language. This one will bring you to tears, or at least it did for me. Then the album really ramps up with King of Glory. This song is a huge highlight and I listened to it repeatedly until I could sing all the words by heart (there is nothing like fumbling over lyrics to really take away from the enjoyment of a song). I very much enjoyed the high notes in this one. Sandi, you hit those like a champ and I will continue to practice until I can do so too! The next song, Face to Faith, is a jazzy little number that proves that this lady can do it all! Those skatting solos were the bomb! Was It a Morning Like This? is another of my personal favourites which includes syncopation to boot. The album ends with two more amazing and equally powerful songs In the Name of the Lord and There is a Saviour. 

This album was released a couple years ago, in 1986, and has made it back into my rotation. I remember dancing and singing to it as a child in preparation for my own solo career (still to come to fruition) and even though some may say that it is a little dated, I would say that good music is good music and Sandi Patti knows how to sing. She didn't need auto-tune to make herself sound good because she had raw talent and a gift for inviting us all into this worshipful experience!